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2000: Blairs' delight at birth of fourth child

The British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are celebrating the birth of their baby son who will be called Leo.

He is the first child to be born to a serving British Prime Minister for more than 150 years and was named after Mr Blair's father.

The latest addition to the Blair household arrived at 0025BST and weighed in at 6lbs 12oz, according to Downing Street.

An emotional Mr Blair said he was thrilled at becoming a father again and praised the doctors and midwives who assisted his wife.

He said: "Our baby is fine. He's a gorgeous boy. They are just resting now. It was an ordinary, natural birth, though it was quite a long labour so Cherie is quite tired now."

Congratulations

The proud parents and their new baby returned to Downing Street shortly after Leo's birth at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.

Mrs Blair, 45, had been admitted to the hospital during Friday lunchtime, five days before her official due date of 24 May.

The prime minister then joined his wife at the hospital at 2050 BST and stayed with her for six hours before they returned to Downing Street with their new son.

The couple managed to give the hordes of waiting media the slip by leaving the hospital via a back door.

The couple already have two sons, Euan, 16, and Nicky, 14, and a daughter, Kathryn, 12.

The prime minister has said he will not be taking parental leave but intends to scale back his official workload.

Congratulations have already started to pour in following the birth. Mrs Blair's father, actor Tony Booth, said he was "absolutely thrilled and delighted" at the news he had a new grandson.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have sent Mr and Mrs Blair flowers and best wishes, as have Tory leader William Hague and his wife Ffion.

Mr Hague said: "We send our congratulations to them and their children. We know this is a wonderful day for them, and a happy day for the country as a whole."

Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy said it was important to give the Blairs some breathing space to enjoy their new arrival.

"The most important thing now is that everyone respects their right to privacy and peace for a decent interval."

In Context
Leo Blair travelled 14,000 miles before he could walk, and was in the eye of a political storm before he could talk.

He made his first public appearance when he was weeks old.

But soon after that he was at the centre of a row over privacy, when "unauthorised" photographs of him were used by newspapers in spite of pleas by the Blairs.

His parents are determined to protect his privacy - as well as that of his siblings - and have kept strict control over photographs and information about him. Soon after Leo's first birthday Mr Blair resisted pressure to reveal whether or not he had been given the controversial MMR vaccine.

In August 2002 Cherie Blair became pregnant for the fifth time but suffered a miscarriage.


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